Left to Right: Alex Wood, Alyssa Price, Maddie Whitesell, Will Parker, Ross Wallace, Zakk Waddell, Kohan Lovett, Luke Watson, Tom Parker, Austin Frederick. Not Pictured: Billy Ellis, Nathan Ferster, Derik Arendall, Lily Whitesell, Allison Hukeba and McKenna Sharpton
We celebrate our sports and everything, which is awesome, but this is their sport. They work incredibly hard. They are great kids and the hard work has paid off.”Lee Henry
WEST POINT – The West Point High School Scholar’s Bowl team has put a lot of time and energy into their craft over the years and this year their hard work has paid off. This group of high school students made a name for themselves in the Scholar’s Bowl community recently when they finished fifth in the nation at the SSNCT National Quiz Bowl (Scholar's Bowl) National Championship.
“I started working at West Point when these two here were freshmen,” said Coach Lee Henry, as he pointed to Zakk Waddell and Ross Wallace. “I saw potential in them and have been coaching them ever since. The first year they did very well. The second year we managed to get seventh in the nation in the small school tournament. Last year we took a step backwards and got 11th place and then this year we were able to get fifth,” he chuckled.
West Point was up against some stiff competition as the top 80 small schools (defined as under 500 students in grades 10 through 12) in the country competed against each other. Being ranked fifth out of 80 is a tremendous accomplishment.
“We are 5A State Champions; these two (Waddell and Wallace) are the heart and soul of the team, but they are seniors so we’re about to lose them,” Henry smiled. “We have two sophomores on the starting team this year and we also have some great talent coming back. Plus, our B Team, is ranked 34th in the nation.”
Both Waddell and Wallace have received Scholar’s Bowl scholarships to Wallace State, so they will continue their Scholar’s Bowl quest after their high school graduation.
“I’m not in the band and I don’t do sports,” said Wallace. “This is my thing. I love it,” he grinned shyly.
“We have to really study a lot,” Waddell explained. “We have a frequency list we go over and we read a lot of old packets of questions. We also have a great coach; he motivates us to study.”
The whole team agreed that Henry is the best.
“All of this wouldn’t be possible without a great coach,” 10th-grader Will Parker piped in. “We really do have a good coach.
“I like to do this because it’s fun for me,” he continued. “It is something else I can do. It helps me improve my knowledge of different stuff. I also do cross-country and I’m on the math team as well. I plan to stay on the Scholar’s Bowl team next year; it’s lots of fun!”
“I really like Scholar’s Bowl,” said Alyssa Price, an 11th grader. “It’s what I do. I have great support from my family and friends.”
The Scholar’s Bowl team stays busy. If they are not traveling all over the country competing in tournaments, they are studying every day during seventh period and meeting after school two days a week for practice.
“Scholar’s Bowl is not like sports, there’s not a ‘season,’” Henry explained. “Our first tournament is usually either the end of August or the first of September and the last one is the last weekend in May. They have a couple months during the summer. A couple students have gone to summer camp at the University of Alabama and I suppose they will go again this year.
“It’s like I tell people, we celebrate our sports and everything, which is awesome, but this is their sport. They work incredibly hard. They are great kids and the hard work has paid off.
“I’d also like to give a shout out to all the teachers we have here at West Point,” Henry smiled. “We have a lot of great teachers here and it makes my job so much easier. It’s definitely a team effort here.”
Over the last four years the Scholar’s Bowl team has traveled to Chicago four times, and Minneapolis and Atlanta a couple of times. They will be going to Dallas at the end of the month for another tournament where they will compete with all kinds of schools: public, private, large and small. There will be a total of 272 teams.